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How to Get Rid of a Stuffy, Runny, Sore Nose

By Kay Ireland ; Updated August 14, 2017

The common cold can be caused by over 200 different viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so there's a good chance that you'll suffer through the uncomfortable symptoms of a cold at least once during cold and flu season. With a cold usually comes a stuffy, runny nose that's sore from frequent blowing. Home remedies can work with over-the-counter medications and even with certain nose-blowing techniques to help you weather your cold in comfort.

  1. Take a shower and sit in your steamy bathroom afterward to help thin and loosen the mucus in your nasal passages and sinuses, so you can breathe easier. This will also thin mucus in your nose, which means less blowing and less soreness.

  2. Invest in a good-quality humidifier for your bedroom to add moisture to the air so your mucus becomes thinner and easier to remove, according to Choose between a hot mist humidifier, which offers traditional steam like your shower, or a cool-mist humidifier for children, to prevent burns.

  3. Roll a towel and place it under the head of your mattress, suggests MedlinePlus. When you sleep flat, nasal congestion can make you feel stuffed up when you lie down, and then result in a sudden torrent of runniness when you sit up. Sleeping with your head elevated can help you rest easier with a clearer nose.

  4. Hold one nostril closed while blowing your nose, then switch to the other nostril, says Dr. Anil Kumar Lalwani, department chair of otolaryngology at the New York University Langone Medical Center. Doing this means less frequent blowing, because you loosen more mucus for a more efficient blow.

  5. Take an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine to manage your symptoms on a short-term basis. Both can help reduce mucus and the swelling that can often cause congestion.

  6. Tip

    Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the bottom of your shower to find further relief from your symptoms.

    Close all windows and doors when using a room dehumidifier.


    Never take over-the-counter medications for more than three days, because they can cause a rebound effect and worsen congestion over time.

    If you don't find relief from your symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You may have allergies or a sinus infection and need allergy medication or antibiotics.

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